Do Giraffes Eat Acacia Trees? (3-Minute Read)

Acacia trees are one of the most dominant trees you can find in savannas and other biomes where wild animals gather. While it’s easy to access animals, this tree stops them from its leaves due to the thorns it has. Since giraffes can easily reach the leaves, you may wonder:

Do giraffes eat acacia trees? Giraffes eat acacia trees, and it’s their favorite food among all the other plants they eat. These tall animals can eat a staggering 60 pounds of acacia leaves and twigs per day. Further, they don’t mind the thorns, as their tongue can go past them.

In general, it may seem like acacia trees are typically for giraffes to eat. With almost the same height and the proper nutrients, these trees make the life of Giraffes a good one.

In this article, we’ll have an in-depth take on acacia trees and how Giraffes benefit from them. This way, you can understand a bit more about the lifestyle of the tallest animals in the world.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

What kind of acacia do giraffes eat?

Acacia is a family of trees, commonly known as the “devil thorns” in Africa. The usual ones you’ll see in the wilds are the ones with thorns. These trees are the ones giraffes seek and eat.

These acacia trees have thorns to repel animals from attacking them and eating their leaves. While it’s enough protection for most animals, it’s not the same issue when it comes to Giraffes.

Despite the thorns, giraffes can eat the leaves using their tongue to skip the thorns and get the leaves. Moreover, the height of acacia trees isn’t an issue for these animals. In fact, it even makes the tree an ideal target.

With such capability, you can see that giraffes are the only ones who eat the leaves.

The reason why Giraffes love acacia leaves is that they contain large amounts of water.

The water in the leaves helps them hydrate themselves. As a result, they won’t need to bend down quite often to drink water from different sources.

Aside from the water in the leaves, Acacia leaves are also rich in nutrients that giraffes find helpful, especially during cold seasons such as winter.

With all the benefits, giraffes take time to seek such kinds of trees, making the most significant part of their daily meals.

As a result, giraffes can eat such a tree alone and finish as much as 60 pounds of it per day.


Why do giraffes eat acacia leaves?

As I said earlier, giraffes eat acacia leaves since it offers the best benefits, unlike other options. To give you a better explanation, take a look at these five reasons why giraffes acacia leaves.

Plenty of leaves and twigs

If you would see Acacia trees in the wild, the first thing you’ll notice is their enormous size.

Acacia trees branch out in so many small twigs that house a whole load of leaves.

Due to the enormous amount, a single tree can feed a giraffe that needs at least 60 pounds of leaves and twigs.

Thus, when giraffes find such a tree, they tend to graze on it since it’s the most accessible food they can get.

Easy to reach

Another thing that you can see in Acacia trees is their staggering height.

Acacia trees have a height that’s quite tall, unlike other trees. While it poses a problem for other animals, it’s a good thing for giraffes.

Due to the trees’ height, giraffes don’t need to bend down and exert effort to eat. Thus, they can munch for a whole day without bending down.

Repels other animals

Acacia trees usually have thorns mixed with the leaves. Such thorns are enough to repel other animals but not giraffes.

Since the tree doesn’t attract animals, giraffes may find a safe place for them to graze.

As a result, they can eat without other predator animals lurking around the area.

Rich in water

The leaves of Acacia trees contain plenty of water. Thus, eating 60 pounds of leaves can help giraffes hydrate.

Since giraffes need to bend down to drink, they don’t do it often. Thus, they usually take water-rich food, so they don’t have to drink much.

Quite nutritious

The acacia leaves are rich in nutrients that are useful to all giraffes that will consume them.

As a result, the leaves form a big part of their diet and are helpful, especially in winter when they lose other food options.

giraffe eating acacia tree

How much acacia can giraffes eat?

Giraffes are enormous animals, and aside from their towering height, their build isn’t a joke as well.

For this reason, they need as much food as they can get to compensate for such a body.

For instance, full-grown giraffes can weigh from 1800 to 3000 pounds. With such a weight, they need to eat a lot of food as well.

In general, Giraffes can eat around 60-80 pounds of food per day. With such a large amount, they spend their days munching and roaming around to look for food.

When giraffes find acacia trees, they can eat around 60-80 pounds of leaves and twigs per day.

Thus, it’s usually a treasure if a single giraffe found an acacia tree on its own.

Can acacia be dangerous for giraffes?

Acacia trees can be dangerous for giraffes due to the thorns. The thorns in these trees are enough to repel other animals. However, as long as giraffes don’t get poked by such, it won’t cause any harm.

Other things worth noting are the awful taste, tannins, and enzymes of these trees. However, such issues don’t seem to be a problem for giraffes.

These animals maneuver their long tongues, passing through thorns without getting poked. Thus, in general, acacia doesn’t seem to be a dangerous tree for giraffes.

What other animals eat acacia trees?

Acacia trees provide loads of benefits not only for giraffes but also for other animals and their environment.

Besides giraffes, other animals also eat acacia trees. Among these are zebras and elephants.

Aside from these animals, acacia trees also provide benefits for the environment. For instance, the wideness of its coverage provides shelter and shade amidst a scorching sun.

Moreover, the acacia gum from the tree is entirely sustainable, and it helps in the productivity of cultivations. Besides sustainability, these trees also help a lot in preventing desertification of the lands.


So, do giraffes eat acacia trees? Yes, giraffes do eat acacia trees, and they even favor it most than any other options they have. Acacia leaves have plenty of leaves for their enormous appetite. It’s also tall enough for them to reach, and it offers quite a lot of water and nutrients.

Thus, they eat acacia trees and consider it as their favorite food among all the other plants. In fact, giraffes can eat a staggering 60 pounds of acacia leaves and twigs per day. Further, they don’t mind the thorns, as their tongue can go past them.

Acacia trees have quite a lot of benefits. Thus, animals like giraffes and the area that surrounds it thank these trees for it.

Do you want to read more about what giraffes eat? Check our article.


Image credits – Canva

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more